Fight for City's 2nd Wal-Mart Looms

City's only existing Wal-Mart approved in 2004

Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009  |  Updated 6:29 AM CDT
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Fight for City's 2nd Wal-Mart Looms

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Wal-Mart could soon be coming to another Chicago neighborhood. Or not.

Here we go again.

As a Chicago alderman begins a push to bring a new Wal-Mart to his community, there's likely to be a resurgence of the big box battle and, as the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday, "the political donnybrook that gave birth to the big box minimum wage ordinance snuffed out by Mayor Daley's only veto."

In a scene ripped from from another colorful page in Chicago politics,Ald. Howard Brookins said Monday he plans to introduce an amended redevelopment agreement at the April 22 City Council meeting that would allow Wal-Mart to build its second Chicago store at a former Chatham industrial site.

In May 2004, the Council voted 32-15 to allow Wal-Mart to construct a 150,000-square-foot store in a poor, largely black and Hispanic neighborhood on the city's West Side.

The vote followed a contentious debate on the Council floor. Opponents argued that the big box retailer paid substandard wages and denied adequate health care to its employees.

"We are dealing with a huge company with a long history of predatory practices," Alderman Helen Shiller argued at the time.

Proponents claimed the store would bring jobs and needed revenue to the blighted community.

The debate will be renewed this week.

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